We collected our tickets for the new Sherlock Holmes film this morning, and queued up to buy a coffee to take in with us. When I put my pincode into the machine, it came up declined. We tried again, and it was declined again. I was really stressed as I really didnt want to sit through a film wondering why my card wouldn't work. It was only thirty seconds or so, but so many thoughts went through my mind, none of which were good.
That moment, my phone rang, and it was an automatic call from my bank to say that they were putting me through to the fraud department. I sent Carl into the film while I talked to the bank, and was nearly in tears as they told me that there were around £2000 of suspicious transactions on my account. They could easily see what they were - they were all in different geographical locations to me, all in shops I don't usually use, and all transactions had been completed by swiping and signing rather than chipping and pinning.
The good news is that the bank will refund me the money, the bad news is that I have had to cancel the card and am without it until they can send me a new one. Happily our joint account is ok and so is Carl's, but it is still an inconvenience. What the bank can't do is sort out how violated it has made me feel. They said that there were some purchases that they tried to make that had been declined, and some that were still going to come out of my account before they would be refunded. I realised that even as I had stood there confused asking the Costa Coffee lady why my card had been refused, so probably had the person who had cloned my card. And worse, one of the people to whom I had handed my card to pay for something had purposefully stolen my details.
I really don't understand how someone could get their hair cut and pay for it with a stolen card. Surely every time someone complemented you on your hair, you would just feel guilty for knowing it was paid for with stolen money?
But as my Mum said to me, those are just a different kind of person who would not think twice about it. Sad but true. Just be so glad that we are not that kind of person.
I would say keep your card safe, check the atm for suspicious devices, be careful when you shop online....but I do that all the time, and they still got me. So just keep an eye on your bank balance, and try not to feel too awful if it happens to you.
Despite this sounding like a bit of a gloomy post, I am trying to look on the bright side...at least the bank noticed and contacted me. At least I will get my money back. At least I have an overdraft limit. And after I mentioned what happened on my facebook page, a lot of my friends sent really lovely supportive messages.
I am sitting drinking tea now, thinking about the Christmas we have enjoyed, the Christmas to come, and the New Year. I hope you are all safe and well, and looking forward to the same!